June 16, 2008

UCLA junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is staying in the NBA draft and hiring an agent, a source close to the situation told SI.com on Monday. Mbah a Moute joins fellow Bruins underclassmen Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook in the 2008 draft, but is unlikely to be selected in the first round and receive a three-year guaranteed contract.

Mbah a Moute took his decision right up to the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday. The Cameroonian forward had indicated to NBA teams during workouts that he was willing to remain in the draft pool if presented with a favorable second-round situation. One NBA scout told SI.com that Mbah a Moute, who averaged 8.8 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, could have a long-term future as a defensive stopper in the pros, similar to the San Antonio Spurs' Bruce Bowen.

Had he returned to UCLA for his senior season, the 6-foot-7 Mbah a Moute would have had the opportunity to make four straight Final Four trips as a collegian. His departure means that senior point guard Darren Collison, who did not declare for the draft, and senior swingman Josh Shipp, who took his name out of the draft pool last week, will be the Bruins' lone returning starters in 2008-09.

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